When Westmoreland police chief Ray Amalfitano decided to continue allowing a former officer, who’d pleaded guilty to assault of a suspect she’d arrested, to continue working in another division of his department, it was a familiar situation.
In 2012, Amalfitano himself was arrested and charged with assault of a suspect that he’d arrested.
But because of how both how he and his former officer pleaded, they were both allowed to be employed with the city.
In October 2012, the TBI arrested Amalfitano after prosecutors said he assaulted a handcuffed suspect in the back of a police car.
When News4 covered the story, we reported that Amalfitano denied the charge but had already resigned from his position as police chief in Layafette because of it.
News4 Investigates confirmed with two sources that Amalfitano entered a plea of judicial diversion, which meant if he stayed out of trouble, the charge would be expunged.
Amalfitano would later become the police chief in Westmoreland, where in 2019, one of his officers would face a strikingly similar charge.
News4 Investigates first revealed the video of former Westmoreland officer Amanda Wolfe, in which handcuffs a suspect and then directs a fellow officer to turn off her body camera.
In interviews with the TBI, that fellow officer said Wolfe then began to beat the suspect.
Prosecutors charged Wolfe with assault, and she pleaded guilty to the charge in late 2019.
Wolfe, like Amalfitano had done, also filed court paperwork to have her charge expunged if she did not get into any more trouble.
News4 Investigates then confirmed that Amalfitano, along with Westmoreland Mayor Jerry Kirkman, decided to allow Wolfe to continue working as an animal control officer, which is also under the police department.
While some city council members expressed concern about Wolfe remaining a city employee, others said because the conviction was a misdemeanor, she could still be employed.
At a prior meeting, Amalfitano said Wolfe was good at the animal control job and hoped she could stay in the position.
The council voted Thursday night to keep her in the position, on a vote of 3-2.
On Feb. 13, Amalfitano submitted his resignation, indicating he would stay on until Feb 28th.
It means, as of the council’s decision, the department is currently employing two people who have been arrested and charged with assault.
Kirkman confirmed to News4 Investigates that Amalfitano admitted his past charge and plea before he was hired, and feels that Amalfitano has done a good job.
In the council meeting, Kirkman told Amalfitano that he had done an excellent job of representing the city and is a highly respected officer.
Amalfitano already has another job lined up: he will be a patrol officer in Portland.
Amalfitano has declined to do an interview with News4 Investigates, and did not return a call for comment for our latest story.